Where the Passion Begins
GRAND MASTER SANCHEZ
Grand Master Sanchez holds the Rank of 10th Degree Black Belt and has been practicing and teaching martial arts for over 45 years. He teaches private lessons to school owners from Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Mr. Sanchez is an Air Force veteran who reenlisted in the service after 9/11. He taught military personnel on his first and second enlistment. Upon his reenlistment, Mr. Sanchez went on to cross-train as an Air Force medic. He is also a National Registry Emergency Medical Technician and has studied with the American College Of Sports Medicine. He has designed programs that address the three major components of health and fitness – cardio/respiratory endurance, muscular strength/endurance, and range of motion. Mr. Sanchez believes in developing fit, well-rounded martial artists. Grand Master Sanchez partners with Ellington Youth Services bringing martial arts awareness programs to the community.
Austin, more fondly known as Mr. SJ, grew up around martial arts, attending karate classes and tournaments with his dad before he could even walk. Because of this, he took an interest in martial arts early on and became increasingly passionate over time. His goal in life is to now share this art, and all its life lessons with the intention to help children realize and become the best version of themselves through the vehicle of martial arts. Outside karate, Mr. SJ enjoys fishing, watching movies, and listening to a variety of podcasts.
Where the passion begins
Edona began her martial arts training at American Karate when she was 9 years old. With hard work and dedication, she currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt. Edona's favorite weapon is Nunchaku, and she also loves not only perfecting her sky high kicks, but teaching our students to perfect theirs as well. Edona loves to spend time with her friends, listen to music, and eat good food. Edona loves working with our kids at AK, and watching them grow into amazing martial artists and individuals.
Emily holds the rank of 4th Degree Black Belt. She became an instructor at American Karate in 2007 and taught at the school while studying at UConn, graduating Magna Cum Laude from the university. She then went on to receive her Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction in 2013. She taught Social Studies for 5 years before becoming a mom to her two daughters. She credits her achievements to the life lessons that were instilled in her through her training, and looks to share these life lessons and effect change in the lives of others.
Ally holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt, starting her martial arts journey at American Karate at 8 years old. Her favorite part of being an instructor is having the opportunity to build a foundation for the kids to excel not only in the context of martial arts but in their lives. She loves watching our students progress and celebrating their individual success alongside them. Ally graduated Magna Cum Laude from Central Connecticut State University in December 2022, earning her Degree in Finance in 3.5 years. She now works during the day at The Hartford.
Brianna Flores started at American Karate when she was 3 1/2 years old in the Tiger class. She trained under Mr. Sanchez, Mr. Carney, and Ms. Fetko (currently known as Mrs. D). She earned her black belt at the age of six and competed in regional and international karate competitions with the School. She believes that learning discipline and self control at such a young age, has helped her with dance, sports, and excel at school. She is a second degree black belt and her favorite weapon is Nunchaku. She is excited to be back with her AK family that has supported her throughout the years
Aarush began his karate journey in 2014 as a Tiger, a class that we used to have for 3 and 4 year olds. He currently holds the rank of 3rd Degree Black Belt and has been an essential member of our Junior Instructor Team since 2021. Aarush loves working his spin kicks, sparring, and his favorite weapon, the bo staff. Aarush’s confidence has grown with each challenge put before him, and we are so proud to have him as a student, and a junior instructor.
Beyond karate, Aarush is an excellent student and loves to read. He also loves playing cricket, traveling, trying out new foods, and hanging out with friends and family. We are excited to watch him continue to grow and positively impact our students.
Danny began his journey at AK as a Dragon in March 2017. He currently holds the rank of Second Degree Black Belt. Danny has achieved a variety of accolades during his martial arts journey including Student of the Quarter, Excellent Stance, and Perfect Roundhouse Kick honors. He has also had success at martial arts competitions throughout the state of Connecticut. He is also a member of our Demo Team and loves to perform, displaying his skills with his favorite weapon, the Bo Staff. In his free time, Danny likes to be outside, fishing, and biking. He also likes to play chess. He plays seasonal sports and is also active in Scouts where he has achieved the rank of First Class and leadership roles of patrol leader and outdoor ethics guide.
Throughout the years Danny has worked diligently to encompass all of the values at American Karate including Excellence, Integrity, and P.R.I.D.E., and enjoys having the opportunity to assist in the journeys of our AK students!
Amelia started her martial arts journey in 2016 at the age of 9. Amelia is a role model kicker combining strength, flexibility, and focus to achieve optimal kicking aesthetics. Her attention to detail and welcoming personality make her a strong leader on the floor. Amelia enjoys drawing, music, and theatre. She is currently involved in the Opening Knight Players at Ellington High School as well as the Ellington Community Theatre. She is so glad to share the joy of learning American Kenpo along with her favorite weapon, bo staff, with the next generation of AK students. She hopes her leadership will help students to gain confidence in who they are, an attribute in herself that she credits to her martial arts training. Amelia continues to work to make sure that all students feel safe and included in classes, allowing them to learn to properly utilize their martial arts training to improve both their mental and physical health.